Thursday, September 29, 2011

AP Style: Useful baseball playoff style guide

AP has taken some time to put out a useful baseball style guide. The occasion is the beginning of the postseason, but it's helpful at any time.

BC-US--World Series Style Guide, Advisory

To help with consistent phrasing in coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series, The Associated Press compiled a World Series Style Guide of key baseball terms and definitions. Also included are some hackneyed terms to avoid. Some of the words are taken from the AP Stylebook. Others are standard usage for baseball stories transmitted by AP Sports.
AL and NL championship series
Spell out "championship series" on first reference with the league abbreviations. It's AL or NL championship series initially, then ALCS and NLCS on subsequent uses. AL stands for American League, NL for National League.

A word for each
ballclub, ballgame, ballpark, ballplayer

Best-of-seven series and best of seven
Hyphenate when used as a modifier with the number spelled out: best-of-seven matchup. On its own, no hyphens in the term: The Red Sox and Phillies meet in a best of seven.

Better to say a player hit a home run, rather than he "walloped'" or "'blasted'" or "cracked" it. Home runs are also homers, but avoid calling them "dingers," "'jacks," ''bombs," ''taters" and "four-baggers." Pitchers can pitch two-hitters, but avoid "twirling" or "chucking" or "fireballing." And teams try to reach the World Series instead of the "Fall Classic." In short, avoid hackneyed words and phrases.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter or Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter? No apostrophe when describing his role: Jeter is a Yankees shortstop, Roy Halladay is a Phillies pitcher. But if club ownership is implied, use the hyphen for a possessive: the Yankees' Jeter, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and the Braves' Chipper Jones.

No hyphens
Third base umpire, first base coach, left field line

Sample uses: first inning, seventh-inning stretch, 10th inning; first base, second base, third base, first home run, 10th home run, first place, one RBI, 10 RBIs. The pitcher's record is now 6-5. The final score was 1-0.

Pitchers' duel
It takes two pitchers doing well for a duel, so it's pitchers' duel (possessive plural), rather than a pitcher's duel.

Postseason vs. playoffs
The terms aren't interchangeable. Postseason encompasses all the games after the regular season ends — the first round of the league playoffs, the AL and NL championship series and the World Series. It takes 11 wins for a team to go through the postseason and become champions. Playoffs refers only to the first two rounds that determine the World Series opponents.

RBI or RBIs?
For more than one run batted in, the abbreviation is RBIs: Granderson led the majors with 127 RBIs, Braun had five RBIs in the win. The seldom-used plural written out is runs batted in, but in AP Style the "s'' is placed at the end of the abbreviation: RBIs.

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
Traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch as the teams change sides on the field. Even though AP Style is ballgame (one word) on all other uses of the word, it's two words in the formal title of this baseball anthem.

World Series
Or the Series on second reference.

World Series champions.
Teams that win the championship are World Series champions, not world champions.

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